As stated, I had a bunch of problems getting the dashboard to come up, but now all’s well. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, I will end up giving short shrift to the last half of the child’s journey, but for posterity, here’s the way days 13-20 shook out:
Pompeii, following Rome, was hot and dusty. Throughout, they had excellent local guides, and this one was no exception. But the kid was not terribly interested in the preserved bodies of those caught in the ash when Vesuvius blew. From there, they boarded a ferry where “it was like steerage on the Titanic, and the crew was incredibly horny.” Between fending off scary chambers (“there was weird stuff on the floor”) and an overly amorous sailor, very little sleep was found.
Sicily was old, hot, dry, and very touristy. The hotel was fairly interesting as they had strange parties at night that she and a couple of friends snuck down to. Notable: a pre-wedding celebration where the women tried to act like men and vice versa; the men’s competition ended in a drag striptease.
Overall, she found the guys to be very slick and catering toward middle-aged women. “The cabana boys run the place.” She felt that the stops in general were extremely touristy and since they were mostly on a bus or in a big horde, not that rewarding. She did climb Etna; it was slippery, but “sorta cool.”
Malta was “like Iraq.” I think she means because it’s deserty and the Arab influence is strong; obviously, it was nothing like the current Iraq as far as having to worry if you’re going to get blown up on the way to the store. Their home stay was more like a bed and breakfast, and she barely saw the family who housed her other than the woman Maria. Maria told her that she did the gig for the extra money. That pretty much sums up the people to people experience.
Was it worth it? It certainly wasn’t worth the price. This was one really expensive trip and it absolutely didn’t deliver what it promised. The tour leaders from Michigan were even worse than predicted (we didn’t have high hopes). The main one wrote very bitchy comments in the kid’s first diary entry, and while a different was complimentary of her second entry, she stopped after. I can’t blame her. She did keep a private journal, but I’m sure it was sporadic; self-discipline is not her strong suit.
Since she’s come home, fights are easy, which makes me sad. It’s very hard realizing that the kid has left the building. I feel constantly torn. I want to help her transition to living away from us, but she protests fairly violently if I do. Silence is also wrong. There doesn’t seem to be a right.
I guess this is better now than it was with me; I didn’t hold a full-scale rebellion until I was at college. But maybe that was easier.
Enough whinging. The kid’s back, and I hope we can enjoy each other more than we fight before she leaves next time, which may be for good. Welcome back, baby.